Our family lives in southwest Missouri. We've had chickens, sheep and cows for over a decade. We've been thinking of getting bees for quite some time and had been doing research. Two weeks ago, there was a swarm right outside the delivery door of the machine shop my husband supervises. With no experience, we decided to attempt to catch the swarm. Got some advice from a friend who had already done this and my husband successfully brought home a swarm of bees. He and our two sons then got our Top Bar hive made and in the bees went. We got them a feeder from the local hardware store and put half honey/half water in it. The bees have stuck around. They come and go from the hive. After waiting several days, we decided to check inside. There was no sign of comb being built yet on any of the bars. We thought that was rather odd, but perhaps the bees had used their stores up and were needing to be fed for a bit first. We looked in the hive again yesterday. Still no sign of comb. We thought that is really odd and called a friend who has bees and top bar hives. He thought it sounded odd too. I told him all the bees are in somewhat of a pile around the feeder. He said if they were in a pile that they were building comb. If they are building comb, they are building on the bottom of the hive. He suggested we join this forum and ask what we can do about this. He also said if they had not started building comb in the right location by the weekend, he would bring us a bar with a comb on it to church on Sunday.

Any ideas on how we newbies should deal with this problem?

Also, how long do we need to feed them? I'm thinking till we see signs of comb with honey in it based on the reading we have been doing. The feeder was close to empty yesterday, so if we need to keep feeding them, we'll need to refill it today. Also, should I leave it inside the hive. The little bit of info I could find the day we built the hive and put the bees in it, there were lots of opinions. We chose the easy option of placing it in the bottom of our very simple top bar hive built according to the directions at http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm